History of the Middle Ages
In research and teaching, our work spans the vast period from c. 500 to 1500, primarily covering the history of Latin European Christianity as well as the history of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. This study illuminates a world that, in many respects, has lain recognizable foundations for modern European culture, though it also appears fundamentally distinct and even strange from a modern perspective. Research in medieval history entails working to understand premodern cultures that are not immediately accessible to modern people, thus requiring a particular variety of approaches. Through careful study of the medieval past, we also have the potential to improve our understanding of the present.
Medieval history has been an integral part of the Institute for History in Graz since 1891. From its beginnings, our attention has focused on comprehensive training for students and support for innovative research. In teaching, we offer students the experience of working hands-on with a variety of primary sources. Our research, meanwhile, focuses in particular on institutional history, women's and gender history, comparative religious and monastic history, cultural contacts between Europe and Asia, and the national and regional history of the Danube-Alps-Adriatic region. Traditional strengths of the department also include the fields of material culture and historical auxiliary sciences, which represent the historian's tools of the trade and enable an indispensable critical assessment of written and material sources from premodern and modern eras alike. This broad group of skills and subjects may be understood as individual disciplines with their own methods and with broad applicability across periods. They include: paleography, diplomatics, epigraphy, material culture and objects, chronology, heraldry, sigillography, numismatics, genealogy, codicology and historical geography. Our teaching staff at Graz also take a great interest in pedagogical approaches to medieval history in multiple contexts, from primary school classrooms to university seminars to continuing education courses. Further information on medieval research and teaching in Graz can be found on the homepage of the Department of Medieval History.